Usually found in crowded cities with high-rise buildings, base jumping is commonly known as fixed object jumping which is considered an extreme sport. The acronym BASE stands for Building, Antenna, Span, and Earth that is seen as extreme in any degree of the word. It might as well be one of the most dangerous sports in the world.
Before you become a BASE jumper, you should have knowledge on skydiving as it requires similar skills but differs from its point of origin. In some cases, base jumpers take the challenge as they go above the maximum level of 300 feet. Although base jumping is an entertaining and breath-taking sport, most countries mark it as an illegal game.
But some places even encourage jumpers through organizing competitions where they can participate and showcase their skills. Witnessing base jumpers jumped from fixed objects, open their parachute and land safely is thrilling and heart-thumping especially from high stations. Here are the top 10 extreme base jumping destinations in the world.
10. Troll Wall, Norway
Located on the Norwegian west coast, the Troll Wall is a portion of the massif Trolltindene (Troll Peaks) in the Romsdalen valley, nearby Andalsnes, and Molde. With about 1,100 meters (3,600 ft.) from its base to its highest peak, the Troll Wall is considered the highest vertical rock face in the European continent. The pinnacle rim hangs over the base of the wall by approximately 50 meters (160 ft.) at its last course.
BASE jumping started in 1980 when Finn Jorma Öster took his first parachute jump from the troll wall. It has then attracted several risk takers, climbers and base jumpers which led to the death and injury of at least eight jumpers like the father of base jumping, Carl Boenish in 1984 after his highest base jumping record set in the history. On July 25, 1986, the Norwegian authorities declared base jumping an illegal sport due to the difficulty of rescuers from saving jumpers when everything goes wrong. Despite this, Troll Wall stays famous for both local and tourist BASE jumpers because they have the chance of jumping with their wingsuits from the peak and making a safe landing.
9. Perrine Bridge, Idaho
Located in the Twin Falls, Idaho, the Perrine Bridge is approximately 1,500 feet (457 m) in its length and 486 feet (148 m) above the Snake River. It is elevated for about 3,600 ft (1,097 m) above sea level which connects the Twin Falls area to Jerome County and Interstate 84. Originally, the Perrine Bridge was a toll bridge and was the highest bridge in the world upon its construction in 1927. The tolls, however, were eradicated after the privately financed $650,000 bridge was purchased by the Idaho state.
In 1987, three former US Army Paratroopers were documented for the first static line jump which was made using their Military Surplus MC1-1B. So if you wish to BASE jump, the Perrine Bridge is the only human-made structure in the United States which allows base jumping without a permit all year-round. For the record, there are two fatalities recorded in 2015.
8. Lauterbrunnen Valley, Switzerland
In the 13th century, the Lauterbrunnen Valley was owned by Freiherr of Wädenswil who sold the Sefinen Valley to Interlaken Abbey. Compared to the height of the mountains on both sides, the Lauterbrunnen Valley is considered one of the deepest in the Alpine chain. Due to its extreme steepness, it has attracted several jumpers which caused their deaths. But this does not stop the risk takers.
There are numerous jumping points with cliffs overlooking the inanimate landscape. Although there are recorded fatalities among the base jumpers, it has been one of the visited base jumping schools for beginners. But the Swiss BASE Association recommends and requires proper base jumping training, gear, and skills. Several rules were also imposed like landing in a field with a windsock and avoid landing in tall grass. Before planning on your adventure, you are required to register on the association’s base jumping site, buy a landing card and many more.
7. Meru Peak, Himalayan Mountains
Situated in the Garwhal Himalayas, it is a mountain lying between Thalay Sagar and Shivling with 21,850 feet (6,660 m) height. In June 2006, Glenn Singleman and Heather Swan set the record making the mountain the site of the world’s highest BASE jump on Earth with a 6,450 meters (21,667 ft.) record before it was exceeded by Valery Rozov in 2013. It took them 22 days to reach the northern peak with a subzero condition and a speed of 200 km/hr. Before opening their parachutes.
The peaks were separated into three which are the southern (6,660 meters/21,850 ft.), central (6,310 meters/20,700 ft.) and Northern (6,450 meters/21,160 ft.) peaks. However, it is unknown if base jumping is legal in the place. But it is not necessarily advisable to try it if you don’t plan on risking your life in an all-in-one adventure.
6. Angel Falls, Venezuela
Known as the highest uninterrupted waterfall in the world, the Angel Falls measures its height of 979 meters (3,212 feet) and a broad of 807 meters (2,648 feet). With its peak, about 400 meters (0.25 miles) of the main plunge is composed of sloped cascades and rapids under the fall and a 30-meter (98 feet) high plunge proximate on the talus rapids. It is considered as one of the most extreme base jumping destinations in the world.
Before jumping off the Angel Falls on the 2,600 feet drop, a permit is highly needed as well as a tour operator. The operator will guide you as you climb from the starting point to the base of the falls and for you to reach the top, a helicopter is also needed. Jumping from this site is not only dangerous but also extremely nerve-wracking as your concern about the gust of water sprays caused by the strong winds.
5. New River Gorge Bridge, West Virginia
Located in the Appalachian Mountains of the eastern United States, the New River Gorge Bridge is 267 meters (876 feet) over the New River. In the United States, the bridge ranked as the third highest vehicular bridges, and it is one of the highest vehicular bridges in the world. In 1979, the first jump was made by Burton Ervin using the traditional North American Aerodynamics Mini Rig System with a 32-foot Lopo canopy.
Every third Saturday of October, the Fayette County holds the “Bridge Day” festival that specifically allows the exhibition of rappelling, ascending, and BASE jumping. About 400 jumpers try and take their chances in participation to the yearly festival. However, three base jumpers were recorded to have died during the Bridge day and another one on an ordinary jumping.
4. Burj Khalifa, Dubai
A mega tall skyscraper in Dubai, the Burj Khalifa is the world’s tallest structure with the height of 2,722 feet (829.8 meters). It was named after the Abu Dhabi ruler and the United Arab Emirates president, Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, who lent money to Dubai to pay its debts.
Base jumping is illegal in the country, but Hervé Le Gallou and Dave McDonnell still took the risk and jumped off the 155th floor of the structure in May 2008. They were the first two people who set the record of jumping off the tallest building in the world. Since then, Dubai allowed authorized base jumpers in the site. In 2014, Vince Reffet and Fred Fugen set the Guinness world record for the highest BASE jump from the pinnacle of the building with 828 meters (2,717 feet) height.
3. Mount Thor, Baffin Island, Canada
Situated in Auyuittuq National Park, the Mount Thor or mainly Thor Peak has an elevation of 5,495 feet (1,675 meters) which is popular for rock climbers. Its name was derived from the Norse thunder god, Thor.
Holding its 4,101 feet record, Mount Thor was set with the greatest vertical drop on Earth. Although it is illegal to binge oneself off the peak due to the main reason that rescuing is quite thrilling, climbers and jumpers still plan to conquer the Thor peak.
2. Christ the Redeemer Statue, Brazil
Located at the Peak of Corcovado Mountain, the Christ the Redeemer statue is standing 98 feet (30 meters) tall plus the 26 feet (8 meters) pedestal and 92 feet (28 meters) wide. The Corcovado Mountain is situated in the Tijuca Forest National Park overlooking the city of Rio de Janeiro. The mountain peak is 2,300 feet (700 meters) above sea level.
Although the statue is considered the lowest BASE jump in the world with its 98 feet height, jumping off the statue is highly illegal and extremely dangerous. It only takes 1.5 seconds to open your parachute. In 1999, Felix Baumgartner successfully landed the first jump from the statue’s arm. But up to date, he remains the only jumper that has dominated without getting caught.
1. Kuala Lumpur Tower, Malaysia
The world’s seventh-tallest freestanding tower, the KL Tower stands 421 meters (1,381 feet) with a roof pod that measures 335 meters (1,099 feet). Due to its highness, the tower is open to the public from the highest viewpoint in the city.
Since 1999, the tower has been declared as the BASE jump center of the world recording its first jump on the same year. Since then, it hosts the longest running urban BASE jumping event featuring 100 jumpers all over the world. The event has also been one of the most extreme and largest competitions on earth.